Make your guests feel at home with easy updates to your living space
The holidays are right around the corner and chances are, you will be having family and/or friends over for a Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year's gathering.
If thoughts of admitting guests to your home (or to a particular part of your home) give you nightmares, consider making a quickly executed, but long-lasting improvement. Our Room for Living experts have a toolbox of suggestions to share.
For instance, you can spruce up your entire home by replacing the dreary, hollow, flat-panel (probably pine) doors which adorn your hallways and the fronts of your closets.
HomeStory Chicago, based in Elk Grove Village, is literally taking a home renovation that used to take lots of time and involved hiring a contractor, and is transforming it into something that only takes a couple of hours or days, depending on the number of doors involved, according to Ron Wozny, general manager of HomeStory.
Doors serve as a backdrop and help make your décor more cohesive, so replacing the interior doors within a home is, arguably, the least expensive remodeling job a homeowner can do with the most overall impact.
In most cases, the doors and hardware are replaced but the door frames remain. HomeStory has a unique laser measuring system which allows the measurement of a door opening down to one one-hundredth of an inch so that the new doors will exactly fit the existing opening, Wozny explained.
"Most homeowners choose a two-, four- or six-panel door and have it painted in a shade of white. So we can tell them the exact shade of Sherwin-Williams white (or other color) and they can prepare their home by painting the existing door frames to match the new doors," he stated.
Those, on the other hand, who want a wood-finish door can choose knotty elder or Douglas pine doors and then have them stained on-site to match existing door frames.
The doors take six to eight weeks to arrive from California where they are manufactured and only one day to install, so installation by the holidays is still possible. And homeowners may choose their own hardware -- either from HomeStory or from a source of their choosing. HomeStory also hauls away the old doors.
Homeowners who are unhappy with the appearance of their main gathering space -- a family room or living room -- can also make big changes in a relatively short period of time. Debora Watson of Acanthus Design in Barrington suggested painting the walls for a quick spruce-up.
"Paint has the biggest immediate impact," she said. "People are still enjoying gray, but they are now tinting it with more shades of blue, and they are including an accent wall that is painted in a warmer color -- often salmon or a copper tone to punch up the room."
They are also buying pillows, rugs, lampshades, vases, art and other accessories in that accent color, Watson said.
As for window treatments, they are very minimized today -- almost nonexistent -- for a less formal look. Many homeowners are choosing wood blinds or shutters that match their trim.
And when it comes to art, they are enjoying very simple black frames with white mats or no frame at all -- just a canvas over wooden stretcher bars. As for the subject of the art, in most cases it is very personal -- a grandparent's or child's work or a memento from their travels.
If the improvement your gathering space needs, on the other hand, is furniture, Michael Walsh, owner of O'Reilly's Furniture and Amish Gallery in Libertyville, said he has a plethora of dining furniture for that holiday meal, as well as couches, sectionals, chairs, recliners and entertainment centers for that holiday sports viewing event -- all available for immediate delivery.
"Anything on the floor in our store can be purchased and immediately delivered to your home and we have all of the most popular woods, leather and upholstery colors and styles in stock," Walsh said. "It can be in your home, ready for your friends and family to eat, sit and watch the big football, hockey or basketball game."
O'Reilly's also has a limited selection of lamps and artwork for those who need to create a finished look before Mom walks through the door.
If it is your kitchen or bathroom that gives you the pre-gathering jitters, Bath Planet can quickly transform your bathroom into a place where your overnight guests will enjoy showering and your kitchen into an updated, state-of-the-art meal preparation space.
Bath Planet of Chicagoland, based in Streamwood, offers stylish, cost-effective, low-maintenance acrylic bath improvements which install right over the existing ugly wall tile and chipped or faded tub or shower for maximum cost-effectiveness and minimum mess.
The acrylic is custom-fitted to your existing bathroom and installed with triple-seal technology. The new bathtub or shower will be stunning and will also fit seamlessly into your current design and protect your home from harmful water damage. Once your choices are made and an order is placed, materials take seven to 10 days to manufacture and then installation can be completed in as little as one day. So delivery before Thanksgiving is still possible, according to Jessie Northrup, Office Manager.
Bath Planet replacement tubs and shower bases come in a wide selection of colors, sizes and styles. They can even feature the elegant look of ceramic tile, granite or marble but without the grout, mess and irritating maintenance because the liners are made of a nonporous, easy-to-clean material.
Bath Planet's sister company, Kitchen Planet, is now offering a comparable service for your aging kitchen, Northrup said.
New cabinet fronts can be created and installed on your existing kitchen cabinet framework with a fraction of the mess, expense and time involved as a full kitchen remodel. Kitchen Planet also replaces old countertops with new Corian, granite or quartz countertops and new sinks and faucets, as well. The ordering process for a kitchen generally takes about three weeks and installation takes two to three days, depending on the size of the kitchen.
"There is virtually no mess and the job goes much quicker than a traditional kitchen gut and remodel," she added.